During his visit to Madrid on 18 and 19 May, Minister of State for Europe Michael Roth met Engracia Hidalgo Tena, the Spanish State Secretary for Employment. Roth exchanged views with young people and trade unionists on the ongoing difficulties on the labour market in both Spain and Europe.
Roth emphasised the joint European responsibility for young people affected by unemployment. He commented as follows:
The funds made available by the EU for the Youth Employment Initiative must now be released as quickly as possible so that swift and concrete assistance can be given. Far too many young people are unemployed. That is a European and not just a Spanish problem. Europeans therefore have a responsibility to help young Spaniards and give them hope of a better future.
Reforms, consolidation, growth and employment belong together
The German Minister of State was especially keen to gain a first-hand impression of the economic and social situation in Spain during his visit. To this end, he met representatives of Caritas and young unemployed people. Together with representatives of the chamber of commerce, German companies and a German vocational training school, he discussed what impetus was needed to boost economic growth and employment.
Germany is helping Spain in its efforts to strengthen the dual system of vocational training and to finance small and medium-sized companies. Germany and Spain are working closely together within the framework of the European Employment Initiative.
Europe is our life insurance
Another focus of the talks in Madrid was the forthcoming European elections. Among others, Minister of State Roth met PSOE European affairs spokesperson Juan Moscoso to discuss this.
Minister of State Roth commented as follows:
Not least the crisis in Ukraine has shown what really matters in Europe, namely peace, freedom and democracy and not the curvature of cucumbers or the ban on olive oil jugs. Europe is faced with a crisis of confidence. We therefore have to take a firm stand against populists and eurosceptics. United Europe is our shared life insurance.